CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Rahul Namdev, Co-founder and CPTO of Betterhalf
Q. What inspired the creation of Betterhalf, and how does AI play a pivotal role in revolutionizing the wedding planning industry?
A. Pawan and I, former MIT graduates and roommates in San Francisco, were inspired to create Betterhalf after encountering the challenges of traditional matchmaking. My first engagement ended, and Pawan faced frustration with existing matchmaking platforms that catered primarily to parents and relied on outdated criteria like religion and caste. Determined to provide a more user-centric approach, Betterhalf leverages AI, focusing on personality and behavioral compatibility for brides and grooms. Today, Betterhalf ranks as the fourth-largest matrimonial player in India.
Despite our success in finding matches using Betterhalf’s algorithms, our own wedding planning experience was far from ideal. We encountered numerous issues, including vendor management and venue selection, resulting in a subpar experience for our guests. Motivated by this firsthand experience, we decided to venture into the end-to-end wedding planning industry.
In recognizing the transformative impact of AI across various fields, such as image recognition, healthcare, and intelligent chatbots like ChatGPT/Bard, we identified an untapped opportunity in the wedding industry. Betterhalf is pioneering the integration of AI into weddings, offering a comprehensive suite of solutions. From ideation to execution, we leverage AI to automate every aspect of the end-to-end wedding planning process.
Q. Could you elaborate on the key features and technologies employed by Betterhalf to enhance the user experience and streamline wedding planning?
A. Betterhalf has successfully integrated technology into its wedding services, revolutionizing the industry with two key features:
Ideabook: This innovative feature allows users to discover precise wedding ideas tailored to their preferences, such as ‘outdoor haldi decor,’ ‘portrait mehendi,’ ‘blue lehenga,’ or ‘white mandap decor.’ Unlike generic search options in the market, Ideabook offers a personalized experience that understands and caters to users’ unique cultural and personal preferences. Powered by advanced AI technology, this highly effective search function goes beyond inspiration, enabling users to transform ideas into tangible wedding plans. Betterhalf’s Ideabook stands out by guiding users on how to turn their dream weddings into reality, providing information on local vendors, estimated costs, and required materials.
3D Real Immersive Tours: Betterhalf’s Venue Digitization introduces 3D Real Immersive Tours to top wedding venues in India. This feature not only enhances customer engagement but also strengthens partnerships with wedding venue providers. Recognizing the demand for convenience in a market where physical venue visits are often required, Betterhalf’s 3D Tours offer a virtual immersive experience, positioning the platform as an industry innovator. By providing a unique and convenient solution, Betterhalf is at the forefront of addressing the evolving needs of wedding consumers.
As pioneers in India, Betterhalf takes pride in automating every stage of the wedding journey, leveraging the power of AI to create seamless and memorable experiences for couples planning their special day.
Q. How does Betterhalf leverage AI algorithms to personalize and cater to diverse cultural and individual preferences in wedding arrangements?
A. Betterhalf addresses a key challenge in wedding planning by focusing on understanding users’ preferences, especially when they may not have a clear vision at the beginning of their journey. Recognizing the complexity of the user mindset during this phase, we implemented a strategic approach.
To gain insights into users’ preferences, we encourage them to shortlist venues from a curated and diverse set of options. Throughout this shortlisting process, we closely track their activities, utilizing AI algorithms to analyze and match their interactions with various venue parameters. This not only provides us with a nuanced understanding of the user’s priorities in terms of venues but extends to encompass decorations and other wedding services.
By leveraging AI to interpret user behavior and preferences during the initial venue selection, we can offer a personalized and tailored wedding planning experience. This approach allows us to go beyond the surface preferences, helping us plan weddings that are deeply meaningful and joyous for each user.
Q. How does Betterhalf ensure data privacy and security while utilizing AI to facilitate matchmaking and wedding planning?
A. Ensuring data privacy and security is paramount for Betterhalf, especially when utilizing AI for matchmaking and wedding planning. Our commitment to safeguarding users’ sensitive information is reflected in a robust set of measures and ongoing practices:
Encryption Protocols: We prioritize the implementation of advanced technical controls, such as encryption at rest and in transit. These measures are designed to thwart unauthorized access and protect the confidentiality of user data.
Regular Security Updates: Staying abreast of the latest developments in cybersecurity, we consistently update security patches. This proactive approach ensures that our systems are fortified against potential vulnerabilities, maintaining the integrity of our users’ information.
Data Minimization in AI Models: To enhance privacy, we adopt a stringent approach to data minimization. Sensitive user data is not stored within our AI models, minimizing the risk of exposure and unauthorized usage.
Access Control System: Betterhalf employs a sophisticated access control system with multiple layers of security checks. This stringent system is designed to prevent any unauthorized access to our AI models, providing an additional layer of protection for user data.
By adhering to these stringent security measures, we aim to foster a high level of trust among our users, assuring them that their privacy is of utmost importance in every aspect of our matchmaking and wedding planning services.
Q. What challenges did Betterhalf face in integrating AI into the matrimony industry, and how were they overcome?
A. When Betterhalf embarked on integrating AI into the matrimony industry, several challenges were identified and successfully addressed to enhance user experiences:
Long Onboarding Processes: The matrimony industry faced a significant challenge with extended and cumbersome onboarding processes, leading to high user drop-off rates. Betterhalf tackled this issue by leveraging AI to streamline the onboarding process, reducing its length substantially. This resulted in a more user-friendly and efficient experience for individuals seeking matches.
Single-Click Matching Technology: In response to the need for quicker and more accurate matches, Betterhalf pioneered the development of single-click matching technology, as evidenced by the granted US Patent No. # US20210240771A1. This innovation allowed the prediction of key user attributes such as religion, mother tongue, marital status, and community in a matter of minutes. By generating relevant compatible matches promptly, users could complete their onboarding swiftly and initiate meaningful connections and interactions.
AI-Driven Match Compatibility Algorithm: Betterhalf introduced a fully AI-driven “Match Compatibility” algorithm, revolutionizing the way users connect with potential matches. This algorithm focused on identifying and pairing individuals with similar personality traits, delivering a highly personalized matchmaking experience for users.
AI-Based Fraud Detection Logic: Recognizing the importance of user safety, particularly for female users, Betterhalf implemented an AI-based fraud detection logic. This system effectively filtered out fraudulent profiles based on suspicious image data and other parameters. By doing so, the platform ensured a secure environment, allowing users to connect with genuine profiles genuinely seeking marriage—a pivotal aspect of any successful matchmaking product.
In overcoming these challenges, Betterhalf not only addressed industry pain points but also set new standards for efficiency, personalization, and safety in the matrimony sector through the strategic integration of AI technologies.
Q. Can you share success stories or notable instances where Betterhalf’s AI technology significantly enhanced user satisfaction or improved wedding planning outcomes?
Wedding Planning – User preference matching
By understanding the user tastes, we have successfully driven up the number of conversions of people signing up for paid services by over 100%. Users are happy and trust us more and this is reflected in our NPS scores and ratings as well.
Reducing the complexity of picking the right decorations, mehendi designs
As stated already: Our Ideabook, which is a highly curated catalog of designs, is deeply powered by AI
Further, we have leveraged a custom AI model to find similar designs in this catalog. This AI has been fine-tuned to find matching based on parameters of the item’s category from a wedding perspective etc.
This in turn has drastically reduced the time taken for our users to get a design that they like. This has been really helpful for our customers who wanted to plan their wedding in a short span of time.
Success story: With their wedding just three months away, Ananya and Rohan were feeling uncertain about the plans. Ananya, loving unique and personalized elements, and Rohan, wanting a celebration that reflects their culture, faced challenges turning their ideas into concrete plans. Tired of generic search options, they discovered Betterhalf’s Ideabook, a game-changer. This AI-driven search tool understood their preferences, offering tailored suggestions. The couple took inspiration from Ideabook and, with Betterhalf’s expertise, seamlessly turned them into actual wedding plans. Their wedding became a showcase of personalization, from the outdoor haldi decor that perfectly blended with the natural surroundings to the intricately designed mehendi reflecting their cultural roots. The white mandap decor, inspired by Ideabook, stood as a symbol of their journey.
Q. How does Betterhalf envision the future of AI-driven matrimony platforms, and what innovations or advancements are on the horizon?
We plan to build a lot of AI-driven features as we move ahead in building the best matrimony product for our users. Some examples are listed below:
Communication Assistance: We plan to implement AI tools to help users initiate conversations or respond to messages. This can include suggesting conversation starters, detecting and suggesting responses, etc.
Event Recommendation Engine: We also want to develop tech that suggests events or meetups (virtual or physical) based on user interests and compatibility scores. This can foster real-world interactions in a safe and compatible environment.
AI-Driven User Experience Personalization: We aim to personalize the user experiences even further by tailoring the app interface and user experience based on individual preferences and usage patterns using AI. This can make the app more engaging and user-friendly.
Q. Considering the evolving landscape of technology and consumer demands, what strategies Betterhalf employ to stay at the forefront of AI-driven wedding planning services?
AI is at the heart of everything we do at Betterhalf. We are making significant investments in AI throughout the value chain of the customer. We plan to deploy AI in a lot more innovations on the consumer front to grant a lot of power and transparency, but we are not just limited to the consumer front. We are also very excited to unleash the power of AI on the supply side to ensure the high performance of our vendors, moving a lot of procurement in-house (including perishables) to ensure adherence to quality and cost-reduction for our customers.
Q. Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or tech enthusiasts looking to integrate AI into niche industries like matrimony and event planning?
A. AI is a powerful tool that can be a significant multiplier in the value being delivered to your users. Remember, your primary goal and the success of your business depend on how much value you can unlock for your users. Don’t stray away from this goal.